Demonic Slaughter are Polish but that’s incidental as the style is Norwegian and whilst it has certain production qualities, there’s an obvious attempt to make is as bleak and raw as possible. The relentless march of “Mystic Rites” captures the tone. The drumming has constancy, the guitar is menacing but eventually it breaks down. The epitaph is harshly sung. “Mystic Rites” is compelling in spite of its grimness. So too “Psalm of Mist” is discomforting, sneering, acrid and venomous. This album is like a grim procession in which grey and grainy scenes are depicted in a way that recalls Darkthrone and Satyricon. Because it’s so familiar, it also seems like a case of going through necessary motions. The pace is picked up on “Monks of Cold Mountains”, then we hit a phase of “Gorgoroth goes Polish” as hissing and growling murder is the overt atmosphere of “Załobna Procesja” (Mournful Procession) and “Wyklęty” (The Wrteched). The final track “Death’s Creek” is an extended instrumental featuring a grainy piano movement and haunting sounds around. It’s not in keeping with anything that’s gone before, but I thought it was the most atmospheric and original track on this album.
Originality is what’s lacking on “Haunted”. It makes its point and captures all the old school black metal ambience that you could wish for. Instrumentally and atmospherically it’s fine but I wouldn’t go further than that.
(6/10 Andrew Doherty)